Yes, Republicans really are worried about Ted Cruz

Their actions speak volumes.

Not Ted Cruz

With a string of polls showing GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s lead slipping, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick showed up in Washington on July 25 to deliver an urgent plea to White House officials: Send President Donald Trump.

Patrick, who chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state, made the case that a Trump visit was needed to boost turnout for Cruz and the rest of the Texas Republican ticket. The lieutenant governor soon got his wish: Trump announced on Twitter late last month that he was planning a blowout October rally for Cruz, his former GOP rival.

The previously unreported meeting comes as senior Republicans grow increasingly concerned about the senator’s prospects in the reliably red state, with some expressing fear that an underperformance could threaten GOP candidates running further down the ballot. Cruz’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, has raised barrels of cash, closed the polling gap and emerged as a cause célèbre of liberals nationwide.

Trump’s rally is just the most public display of a Republican cavalry rushing to the senator’s aid. Cruz remains a favorite to win another term, and some senior GOP figures insist the concern is overblown. Yet the party — which has had a fraught relationship with the anti-establishment Texas senator over the years — is suddenly leaving little to chance. Behind the scenes, the White House, party leaders and a collection of conservative outside groups have begun plotting out a full-fledged effort to bolster Cruz.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who’s planning an October fundraiser for Cruz at Washington’s Capital Grille restaurant, said he had a simple directive to GOP givers.

“We’re not bluffing, this is real, and it is a serious threat,” Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said in an interview. “If Ted does his job and we do ours, I think we’ll be fine. But if we have donors sitting on the sidelines thinking that, ‘Well, this isn’t all that serious,’ or ‘I don’t need to be concerned,’ then that’s a problem.”

What caught my eye in this story was the timing of Dan Patrick’s schlep to DC to beg for help. Here’s what the five most recent polls looked like as of that July 25 date:

Cruz +9, Cruz +5, Cruz +8, Cruz +6, Cruz + 6 – Average Cruz lead = 6.8

And the five polls since then:

Cruz +2, Cruz +6, Cruz +4, Cruz +4, Cruz +1 – Average Cruz lead = 3.4

So at the time that Danno made his pilgrimage, Cruz had a solid if unspectacular lead in the publicly available polls. Since then, he’s had a much narrower, albeit still consistent, lead. On the (I hope) reasonable assumption that Patrick is not clairvoyant, it makes one wonder what he and his cronies were seeing in the polls back then that made them so worried. I mean, it could just be an abundance of caution, though that’s wildly inconsistent with Texas Republicans’ public braggadocio about their own prowess and the supposed conservatism of the state’s electorate. Since when do Texas GOPers need help from the outside to win elections? Especially in a year where the national party has about a thousand endangered Congressional seats to protect, not to mention a non-trivial number of governors, and they’d much rather be spending money to oust Democratic Senators, asking for the spigot to be tapped in support of Ted Cruz sure seems like a lot.

Unless, of course, their own data at the time was sounding an alarm for them, not just for Cruz but for however many downballot Republicans that could get left exposed by a low tide for the junior Senator. And if that was the case for them then – and maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, we just don’t know – then what is is saying now? Maybe the public data has caught up to where their own data was, and maybe things have shifted further. Again, we don’t know. That doesn’t stop us from speculating, as we wait for the next batch of poll results. My point here is simply to highlight that Republicans are aware of the political environment they’re in. It’s on us to prove they were right to be so concerned. Slate has more.

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8 Responses to Yes, Republicans really are worried about Ted Cruz

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    Something in their polls is scaring Cruz and the Republicans

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    The bigger stadiums would be JerryWorld, NRG, and Kyle Field. If the rally is at NRG or Kyle Field, I will definitely be there. Obviously, I’m pro-Cruz, and the positive for Cruz is, it looks like the Chamber of Commerce Republican set, AKA the ‘RINO’s’ want Cruz to be re-elected, which really is a sea change from their previous stance, which seemed to be, they just wished Cruz would go away.

  3. C.L. says:

    C’mon, November !

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill I don’t think Trump will come to Texas, he won’t be wanted here. That is my prediction. Reason he will royally F%$#k up plus Stormy’s book is coming out next month.

  5. Mainstream says:

    It is hard for me to imagine that Senator Cruz, Congressman Olson, state Senator Huffman, state rep Dwayne Bohac or the like could be at risk given the base vote for Republicans in the state/districts, but I am hearing a surprising number of quiet comments by disaffected Republicans that suggest these contests may be close. A lot of folks who flooded on the west side are Republicans, and many seem to fault Cruz for some vote against Harvey relief. There are also the Trump enthusiasts who are still mad about his national convention speech, and business/chamber of commerce types who preferred Dewhurst and think he spends too much time on shrill ideology, and not enough on working to actually pass legislation. I think most of these will come home to the GOP by November, but if not, watch out!

  6. asmith says:

    They are scared. The recent CBS poll that has Cruz up 3 had Patrick, Paxton at 45%, not a great place to be if you’re an incumbent after labor day.

    Theres a lot of new people that moved to this state since the 2016 and if they register, they are probably not in the likely voter screen.

    Cruz is under water in the suburbs and it appears that Abbott doesn’t have coattails for the ticket. Our suburbs are beginning to look like suburbs in other metro areas across the country. The dam between blue cities and the red suburban counties is breaking this year.

  7. Pingback: Crosswinds: Cruz 47, O’Rourke 44 – Off the Kuff

  8. asmith says:

    I think Olson and Huffman will survive. I’d be more worried if I were Culberson, Sessions, Hurd, maybe Carter in the congress, and Huffines, and Burton in the state Senate. Wouldn’t be surprised if Angela Paxton in SD8 only wins by 10 points in a district the gop used to win by 20 or 30. Southern collin county gets less red every election.

    The house is harder to predict right now, depends on how strong the wave is downballot.

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